- Sunday Dress
Nissinha had been pregnant thirteen times. She hadn't wanted any of them. But shed had all thirteen. Thirteen offspring were born in that house. Among the farm workers it was the loveliest house. The biggest. Nissinha's husband was the best looking. The biggest. He went about the farm in a white suit and white shoes. If this had been the favela, he'd have been a samba man. But on the farm, he was a laborer. None of this meant anything to Nissinha. Nissinha didn't want to give birth. Nissinha gave birth every year. All Nissinha was, was pregnant. Nissinha couldn't be alone. Nissinha complained about the worm she'd had for ten years: "It's the worms!" said Nissinha, in response to any problem that arose.
Nissinha's rage only got bigger. The offspring brought themselves up. Nissinha wanted to be alone. She yearned for human solitude. Nissinha didn't know how to live, whatever that might be. Nissinha wanted one of those worms to bring her a gift: the undoing of life. As they didn't stop coming, they could at least give her this joy. She began to wish for this gift with the fourth offspring. Five, six, seven. Every year was the same for Nissinha. And nothing was hers. They didn't bring her anything. Nissinha hid her belly.
That Sunday, in the little sixth month of the thirteenth time, Nissinha paid a visit to the neighbors with her offspring in tow. A neighbor noted: "Nissinha, look at that belly! This one's a li'l boy!" This was hurtful to Nissinha, who didn't say anything. Followed by her misunderstood little ones, Nissinha walked home. The biggest house. It was Sunday. The day of pain in the street. The biggest husband was licking his pain in the store. And Nissinha?! She got home. She walked firmly, kicking aside everything in her way and scouring the rooms. She found the shiny scissors, and the ace! The children looked at their mother. All they could see was the pack of cards falling, colorful. A colorless floor. A colorful floor. A child's toy. The children squabbled over the pieces. The scissors were in Nissinha's hands, and the dress that had given away her pregnancy was torn: she didn't have the courage to do anything else, not even to push out the thirteenth.
Having finally received her gift, Nissinha left this injured Sunday dress for those who would remember. The biggest husband made every day into a Sunday and licked himself relentlessly. The offspring spread themselves out randomly over the other days of the week. [End Page 57]
Ruth Ducaso is one of the three pseudonyms under which Luciany Aparecida writes. She was born in 1982 in Vale do Jiquiriçá, Bahia, and holds a doctorate in literature. Her books include Contos ordinários de melancholia [Ordinary tales of melancholy] (2017) and Auto-retrato [Self-portrait] (2018). She has received grants from the Brazilian National Library Foundation, FUNARTE, and the Bahia State Cultural Foundation. In 2015, she was a writer-in-residence at the Sacatar Institute.